Jeff Raines had an ear for music at a very early age. Raines' mother can vouch for that. "When he was four years old, he went next door to a garage sale with $10 from his piggy bank and bought a small organ. The first I knew of it was when I saw him coming back into our yard struggling to carry the organ! He has had a passion for music all his life".
Along with Robert Mercurio, Jeff grew up in Washington D.C. where he was originally captivated by the hardcore scene there. The two played in a number of different bands while still in high school, including a surf punk band called the Skitzmatics. Later, he was hipped to the sounds of Parliament-Funkadelic and James Brown, and once he found the funk, there was no turning back.
When it came time to pick a college, Jeff knew he wanted to be in New Orleans where the funk was born. He attended Loyola University (while Mercurio went to Tulane, also in New Orleans) but most of the learning occurred outside of school. "We learned more in the night clubs than in all of our college classes." Out of all the musicians in New Orleans at the time, Raines was mostly influenced by Leo Nocentelli, legendary guitarist for the Meters who Raines has since traded licks with on the Galactic stage. Raines was also schooled in writing music in New Orleans during his college years, and along with being credited for taking part in the writing of much of Galactic's music, he is also responsible for writing the lyrics for "Start from Scratch" and "Change My Ways"!